The Keto Diet: How to, Benefits, and Where to Start
Weight loss is HARD. There’s a reason some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are exercising more, eating healthier, and losing weight. There’s also a reason most people don’t end up sticking to those New Year’s resolutions.
The process of trying to lose weight can be frustrating and confusing, especially because it’s not always something that offers daily, tangible rewards. In a world where new fad diets and workouts pop up all the time, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start or what will work best for you.
One diet that’s stood the test of time is the ketogenic diet. Though eating keto can be a difficult adjustment upfront, the benefits of keto can be rapid and substantial. By putting your body into a state of ketosis, the high fat, low carb diet turns your body into a well-oiled, fat-burning machine primed for weight loss.
What Is Ketosis?
Achieving ketosis is the main goal of the keto diet. It’s a metabolic state in which your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs, in turn encouraging weight loss.
The keto diet is a low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. Though there are several keto diets, the standard ketogenic diet (SKD) breaks down to around 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. After about three to four days of eating low carb—typically less than 50 grams a day—your body eventually runs out of blood sugar, or fuel, that it can burn quickly. It then turns to protein and fat for energy (AKA ketosis), which can lead to weight loss. This is the basis of the ketogenic diet.
Be aware—entering ketosis can be intense and sometimes lead to what’s known as the “keto flu.” While your body is adjusting, you may experience lethargy, mental fog, as well as constipation or diarrhea because you’re changing your fiber intake. Fortunately, the keto flu usually only lasts about a week or so after your first few days of low carb intake.
Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
Besides weight loss, the keto diet can offer many other health benefits. Designed to be a short-term diet as opposed to a lifestyle, the keto diet may also help with things like heart conditions, acne, and nervous system disorders.
- Weight loss: It may seem counterintuitive that eating a high fat diet can lead to weight loss, but we know that by doing so we eventually enter ketosis, which can lead to weight loss as our body turns to fat for fuel instead of carbs. Research is even discovering that a high fat diet can be more effective for long-term weight loss than a low fat diet, with one study finding that participants who followed a ketogenic diet lost almost five times as much body fat as those who stuck to a low fat diet. A review of 13 studies also found that those eating keto lost an average of two pounds more than those on a low fat diet, and those on the keto diet also showed reductions in diastolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
- Heart conditions: More research still needs to be conducted on the keto diet’s effects on heart conditions, but we do know that ketosis reduces insulin levels in the body which can stop your body from making more cholesterol. That means your odds of having high blood pressure, hardened arteries, and other heart conditions could be lowered while on the ketogenic diet, though we don’t yet know how long these effects last.
- Acne: Research still needs to be done regarding the keto diet’s effect on acne, but we can make some assumptions. We know that insulin can cause your body to create other hormones that can cause breakouts. Ketosis lowers insulin levels, so that could potentially help mitigate that process. Not to mention, carbs have been linked to acne, so eating low carb while on the keto diet could help reduce acne as well.
- Nervous system disorders: The keto diet was originally developed in the 1920s to help people suffering with epilepsy. Scientists are still determining exactly why ketosis can help control seizures, but it’s thought that ketones—a chemical your body produces when it burns stored fat—help protect your brain cells from damage. While on the keto diet, ketone levels increase in your body. Ketones may also be beneficial to those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, though research is still necessary.
The Keto Beginner’s Shopping List
Transitioning to the keto diet can feel overwhelming, but don’t worry! Steer clear of starchy vegetables, breads, and sugary foods, and you’ll be feeling the benefits of ketosis in no time. Plus, the right kitchen appliances can make the process a lot easier.
Fruits & Veggies:
Most fruits are off the table because of their sugar and carbs, but there are a few exceptions. Avoid root vegetables and tubers for their carbs and starches. Look for produce like:
- Cauliflower, broccoli, onions, tomatoes
- Spinach, kale, arugula
- Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
Meat & Fish:
Remember, eating keto is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet, so meat and fish will make up a lot of your meals. Keep an eye out for foods like:
- Red meat, steak, ham, chicken
- Salmon, tuna
- Bone broth
Fats & Oils:
Fats and oils play a huge role in the keto diet since fat is what we’re wanting our body to burn. Use things like:
- Olive, avocado, and coconut oils
- Cheddar, goat, and cream cheese
- Nuts and seeds
The right kitchen gadgets can make going ketogenic a lot easier. Simple items like a meat thermometer and grill press can be useful since there’s a lot of meat involved in the keto diet. There are also a lot of oils involved because of their high fat content, which makes countertop infusion appliances like the LEVO II a must-have for starting the ketogenic diet.
Eating Keto with the LEVO II
The LEVO II takes your ketogenic meal game to the next level by infusing herbs into your oils. Through controlled heat and time, the LEVO II transfers the flavor, scent, color, and nutrients of your herb of choice to your oil of choice, all at the simple push of a button. Use it to make anything from delicious keto bombs to infused olive oil for cooking.
The keto diet is one of the most favored diets for weight loss because you still get to enjoy rich, flavorful foods. It is still a diet though, and sticking to it can be difficult. The LEVO II makes it easier by adding botanical flavor and nutrients to your meals without adding unwanted carbs and sugars. Plus, you can use it to make other helpful things like warming muscle salves for post-exercise soreness.
Weight loss will always be a challenge, but if you go into it with the right diet and the right tools, there’s no reason this year’s weight loss resolution can’t stick!
Ready to go Keto? Check out LEVO's Keto Recipes. Want more? Order your own copy of the LEVO Keto Cookbook!